Over the last few weeks, I felt the Lord prompting me to go through the gospels chapter by chapter. For some reason, I never really wanted to read them because of how a lot of the church has only regarded the “New Testament” as the word. I loved spending time in deep books like Isaiah and Jeremiah, but the more I read Donald Miller, the more I have this urgency to get past my religious box and understand God the way He intended for us to. Jesus was fully God and fully man and said some things the religious leaders of the day thought were blasphemous. It blew our preconceived notions and formulated boxes right out of the water…and as I take this journey, losing my religion seems to be more of a reality than gaining the kind of spirituality the church said I would have.
As I read, I find something I really need to understand for this moment in life. Today it was the story of Peter and his experience walking on water.
I tell you what, Peter was a go-getter. He wasn’t afraid to speak his mind or to do things that might make others shake their heads in disbelief. Jesus went away to pray so the boys hopped in a boat to get to their next destination (you probably know the story). They were in a boat, a place that seemed appropriate to be upon water. The facts say that people sink in water…a human body is more dense than water. But when they saw this ghost who turned out to be Jesus, Peter didn’t want to stay in the place that seemed right. Peter wanted something more; the Lord was out there in the impossible.
Good thing God is all-knowing and has anticipated this moment to teach us all something about faith. There must have been something in Peter’s heart all along…that longing for adventure, to get out of the box. So from far away, Jesus calls to the entire group “Hey! It’s alright guys, don’t get freaked out. It’s me.” Pete’s like, shoot, Lord, if you’re out there I gotta come too! So he, the only one willing, calls out to Jesus, “Alright God, if it’s you, tell me to take the first step.”
And Jesus simply said, “Come.”
Pete was out of that boat and I’m sure the other guys were sitting there wondering how much wine he’d had that night. Fact of the matter is, though he looked absolutely nuts-o, he was the one that got out of the boat because he wanted something more than comfortable.
For a while, Peter was set: he kept looking at his friend, into those eyes that were excited he’d taken the chance to join Him. I’d like to think Peter’s adrenaline must have been through the roof, so excited he was defying all natural law, excited he was doing something Jesus was doing. But then maybe he got a little cocky that he was the only one who left the boat. All of a sudden, he looked down. What the hell am I doing right now? Walking on freakin water, am I crazy!?! The wind blows a little harder, the waves get a bit more choppy…and he no longer sees the goal was to get to Jesus, so he starts to sink. “Lord! Save me!” he cries out.
Immediately, Jesus is there, grabbing his arm, pulling him up. I see Jesus with a slight smirk on his face, shaking his head, saying, “Oh Pete…you almost had it, why did you doubt?”
And so I find myself in Peter’s shoes. You also probably have at one time or another: stepping out of that boat when everyone looks at you like you’re crazy. We have moments in the beginning where the experience is exciting, God is opening doors that were impossible to open otherwise…but now (or later), we look around and see the circumstances of life. Maybe we get cocky that we’ve stepped out when no one else would. Maybe we let fear of financial ruin or instability get to us. We doubt that God has called to us to come tread upon the impossible and get to Him. Because the goal isn’t the ministry (that will have problems…rogue waves and such); the goal is Jesus – the goal is to get closer to Him and to find another piece of His heart. Taking our eyes off of Him only allows discouragement and doubt in…and then we sink.
My prayer today was Lord, forgive me for relying on myself, for allowing my circumstances to dictate my perspective. Forgive me for losing sight of you. Thank you for saving me this time…again. Please give me another chance.
…and I don’t doubt that He will. For some of us, we get to learn these things over and over and over again…